The resurrected Lord

Our recent Dutch posting “De opgestane Heer” looks at the essence of our faith but also at the reality of these days there being  clergymen who claim that we do not have to believe in a literal resurrection of Jeshua the Christ from the dead.

We are used to hearing such statements from the mouth of freethinkers, but how do theologians reach such a conclusion?

The issue is not only of an academic nature; the apostle Paul argued that our faith stands or falls:

“But if Christ is not raised, your faith is useless” (1 Cor 15:17).

You should know this situation is not new; in the first century some Christians also doubted the resurrection whilst others gave a totally different explanation. The apostle Paul was very concerned about a certain Hymenaus and Filetus, who

“Have strayed from the truth by claiming that the resurrection has already taken place” (2 Tim. 3:18).

Engraved plaque containing Apostle Paul’s Areopagus sermon.

Here one tends to ignore miracles and explain them in a different way.
The resurrection would then be a spiritual revival, something that takes place in this life. The Greek philosophers of that time did not want to know anything about an immortal body; for them the body was only a shell for the soul, something that would no longer be needed after death. Paul encountered this attitude in Athens when the members of the Areopagus mocked him because he reasoned about a resurrection from the dead (Acts 17:32). The doubts that have arisen among the believers in Corinth and elsewhere are apparently due to such Greek influences.

At the time of Jesus, there in Judaism or in an other religion, did not exist an idea of the Messiah dying and being bodily resurrected to eternal life. For the People of God, the Jews,it was clear knowledge that when would people die, there life with their thoughts came to an end. They also believed by death everything came to an end for that person who would stay dead.

What could live on from a person was the memory or the thoughts in our minds and things which were not put in the sheol (hell or) grave with that person. In the synagogue the priest and rabbis warned for the false teachings of the many philosophers who came up with ideas of a  so called after life or something going out of our body to go in something or some ones body or to go to some other place, like in the so called different layers of heavens.

Some Jews though believed in a sort of spiritual or ghostly appearances. They too knew people when they died would go to ‘Sheol‘ (hell = sepulchre or grave) to wait for the outcome of what God had promised, a new life after judgment day, the righteous dead getting new resurrection bodies. They also thought somehow, because of the state of the grieving one, that person could receive a vision or appearance of the dead, which soon would disappear again. For them, witnesses of Jesus appearance after his death, it was clear that those men had had such a vision.

The real  problem is with the vision hypothesis is that it doesn’t explain Paul’s use of resurrection to explain what had happened to Jesus.

The two words are used for resurrection in the New Testament “anastasis” (rising up) and “egersis” (waking up), both imply a physical body. Furthermore, the use of the word “opethe” (the Greek word for appeared) shows the Gospel writers did believe that Jesus appeared physically.

“There you will see (opethe) him” (Matt. 28:7);

“The Lord has risen and has appeared (opethe) to Simon” (Luke 24:24).

When they used “opethe” here, it means that He appeared physically to them. Is faith in the resurrection of Christ in question, or do we have sufficient proof that it really happened?

When we go to the Bible, we find a consistent testimony: the Nazarene teacher Jeshua (Jesus Christ) died and rose again. Especially the apostle John provides decisive proof when he describes the death of his Lord (Jn.
19: 31-37). {Eric Chabot – Think Apologetics:Why the Resurrection of Jesus is the Best Explanation For What Happened To Paul}

Anastasi or Anastasis (Greek: Ανάσταση), resurrection, + in Christian art, a pictorial representation of the Harrowing of Hell – depicted here in the Petites Heures de Jean de Berry, 14th-century illuminated manuscript commissioned by John, Duke of Berry.

It was also after Saul experienced an appearance of Jesus that the persecutor of the followers of Jeshua (the Way), came to believe that the rebbe must have come out of the hell after having been there for three days. From that experience onward he also came to see how important that anastasi or resurrection of Christ, must be for the future of us all. The apostle had a rabbinic teaching and his letters are written from his Pharisee background of the tribe of Benjamin.

Jeshua as the one hung on a tree belonged to the sort of people who person committed a sin punishable by death and to be executed as such (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). The corpse of that executed criminal had to be done away with, not defiling his land which the Lord his God had giving Saul too as an inheritance.

Anyone hung on a tree is under God’s curse”-the very method of death brought a divine curse upon the crucified. In other words, anyone who was crucified was assumed not to be the Anointed One of God. So Paul most likely found the idea of group of Jewish people following a crucified Messiah to be abhorrent. {Eric Chabot – Think Apologetics:Why the Resurrection of Jesus is the Best Explanation For What Happened To Paul}

From his experience on the road to Damascus Saul became convinced that the whole world had to come to know that Jesus his resurrection from the dead was a fact but also a serious sign for whole mankind. Having a son of man standing up from the dead is totally abnormal. But having now that man of flesh and blood being raised from the dead, this could be the best example for mankind to what can happen to all of us. Naturally in case Jesus would be god, like so many ‘Christians’ do believe than this assurance is taken away, and than mankind still has no proof at all that man can raise up from the dead. Than all that charade of a god faking his temptation and his death (because God can not be tempted nor die) would be totally useless and/or meaningless.

Never did Paul believe that Jesus would be God, like so many theologians want us to believe. Paul never gave up his Jewishness or never had to repent having done fault to God for not believing in Him. Paul kept his belief in the Only One God, but got an addition: to believe Jesus was really the sent one from God, who was authorised by God to act in His Name.

Paul knew that there was only One Divine Creator, but now came to see Jesus as the maker (or creator) of a new universe, namely the world of the New Covenant. For him started also a new life in a New World, the world of Christ. He was aware that he stood at the beginning of this New World where the Body of Christ had to receive shape.

File:Joseph von Führich 001.jpg
A depiction of Saint Cleopas as one of the disciples who met Jesus during the Road to Emmaus appearance. – Der Gang nach Emmaus Joseph von Führich (1800–1876)

The apostle came to see and understand how very shortly after Jesus’ death, the disciples had experiences that led them to believe and proclaim that Jesus had been resurrected and had appeared to them. He could feel and associate with Kleopas who was one of the two disciples who encountered the resurrected Jesus for the first time, during the Road to Emmaus appearance in Luke 24:13-32For after Jesus his death many of his followers were despondent without any expectation that he would come back to life again. Kleopas said to the stranger who joined them on the road to Emmaus

“We lived in the hope that he was the one who would deliver Israel.”

All hope seemed to be gone or destroyed. But soon after the three days Jesus was death, the empty tomb which was found was the proof heir master must have been either taken out of the grave or be risen like he talked so much about a rebuild of his body and him going to his heavenly Father. The women, who had come to the grave with spices early in the morning of the third day, could not believe their eyes when they saw that large tombstone rolled aside. They were two angels who had to calm them down with the joyful message:

“Why are you looking for the living among the dead? He is not here, he is raised from the dead “(verses 1-8).

All those who were afraid to come close to the place where Jesus was put at the stake, by those appearances got some courage to tell about that special man who now seemed to have risen out of the dead. after all it did not seem to be a swindle or just some hallucination of some drunk men. After they got to hear what happened in that closed room, the apostles receiving the Spirit of God and hearing them speak openly in different tongues they knew it was not just spooky nonsense in a darkened room.

Jesus giving proof he is not a ghost or spirit, like his heavenly Father , the God of gods is, but showing that he is that man of flesh and blood who is risen from the dead and still has the nail scars of his impalement.

 

No man can see God and live (Ex 33:20) but everybody could see Jesus, when he was alive and now after his death, simply because Jesus is a son of man and the son of God, not God himself. He could not do anything without the Power of his God (John 5:19). That way he also could not come out of the grave without God lifting him up and taking him from the dead. By doing so man got an example what could happen to them too. If God would have come to earth, faked his temptation and his death (because God can not be tempted and can not die) than all that acting was for nothing, we still sitting here on earth with no real hope of a resurrection for man.

The apostle Paul knew that very well too and let the interested people know about such reality.

If Jesus did not really die, then there is obviously no resurrection.

We also should know there was a reason why the Roman soldiers did not break the legs of Jesus.
Because He was already dead! Do we think that these soldiers have made a mistake? Even if that were the case, we have the additional evidence for his death in the fact that when that soldier raised his lance in Jesus’ heart, blood mixed with water flowed. Here is the undeniable proof that the heart no longer functioned. But the resurrection?

Back to Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 15. The reason for this long argument about the resurrection is found in verse 12:

“But when it is proclaimed about Christ that he was raised from the dead, how can some of you say that the dead will not rise?”

The proof for the apostle is based on the multiplicity and reliability of witnesses, but even more so on the fulfilment of prophecy:

“The most important thing that I have given you, I have in turn received again: that Christ died for our sins, as the scriptures state, that he was buried and raised on the third day, as is stated in the scriptures … “(Verses 3-4).

Doctor Luke, who is well aware of sickness and death, states that Jesus was death but now is under the living again. Peter observed on the Pentecost day that from then onwards the pains of death would be broken.

“ whom God raised up, having loosed the pangs of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.” (Ac 2:24 ASV)

The apostles were well aware of the prophetic words of David. So the apostle has found assurance again because he knew now that he would be able to find a hiding place in hope, because also for all human beings there is the possibility to come after Jesus, leaving the soul, i.e. our being, waiting for the return of the lord Jesus, who sitting at God’s right hand as mediator for us, shall come to judge the living and the dead.

“25 For David saith concerning him, {1 } I beheld the Lord always before my face; For he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: {1) Ps 16:8 ff }26 Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; Moreover my flesh also shall {1 } dwell in hope: {1) Or tabernacle }27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul unto Hades, Neither wilt thou give thy Holy One to see corruption.” (Ac 2:25-27 ASV)

“ But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,” (Ac 7:55 ASV)

“ but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for {1 } sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; {1) Or sins, for ever sat down etc } (Heb 10:12 ASV)

“ For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus,” (1Ti 2:5 ASV)

“ But now hath he obtained a ministry the more excellent, by so much as he is also the mediator of a better covenant, which hath been enacted upon better promises.” (Heb 8:6 ASV)

“ and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better {1 } than that of Abel. {1) Or than Abel } (Heb 12:24 ASV)

From that moment onwards there was no reason any more to be deceived, because they had received the signs that God was with Christ and with them who believed in this son of man to be the Messiah. They came to believe that the Elohim Hashem Jehovah God had raised Jesus from the dead, without returning to dissolution. A little later the apostle Paul would use the same argument:

“ And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he hath spoken on this wise, {1 } I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David. {1) Isa 55:3 } (Ac 13:34 ASV)


Only the resurrected Lord could give them the courage to testify for him and even die for him if need be. He appeared among them, and to convince them even more that he really lived, he had shown his marks of impalement. He let him touch them and he used food with them. So that they could know and become convinced that he was no
spirit, like God is a Spirit, Who has no flesh and bones as they could see Jesus had.

“ See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye behold me having.” (Lu 24:39 ASV)

The Lord has risen! Let us accept this fact with joy, for his resurrection to eternal life is the guarantee that all who believe in him will also receive eternal life when he returns. For the time being we shall have to face it, as we all die by Adam, so when we belong to Jesus as members falling under the New Covenant and partakers of the Body of Christ, we will be made alive by Christ.

“20  But now hath Christ been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of them that are asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in {1 } Christ shall all be made alive. {1) Gr the Christ }23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; then they that are Christ’s, at his {1 } coming. {1) Gr presence } (1Co 15:20-23 ASV)

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Preceding

On the Nature of Christ

Anointing as a sign of Promotion

Lost senses or a clear focus on the one at the stake

A perfect life, obedient death, and glorious resurrection

Wednesday 5 April – Sunday 9 April 30 CE Pesach or Passover versus Easter

Memorizing wonderfully 36 The God of the living and Resurrection

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Additional reading

  1. Dying or not
  2. Ezekiel 18:4 – What the Bible teaches about Soul and Spirit
  3. Is there an Immortal soul
  4. Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #5 Mortality of man and mortality of the spirit
  5. Jesus the “God-Man”: Really?
  6. Biblical Yeshua/ Jesus or Another European Greco- Roman Jesus ??
  7. Why think that (2) … Jesus claimed to be something special
  8. I can’t believe that … (3) miracles can happen
  9. Why think that (3) … Jesus rose from the dead
  10. 3 Reasons the Resurrection Matters
  11. Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus Declared God’s Son at His Baptism
  12. Most important day in Christian year
  13. The Most important weekend of the year 2018
  14. Matthew 12:38-42 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Signs in Jonah and the Queen of the South
  15. Seven full weeks or seven completed Sabbaths and ascension of Jesus
  16. Atonement and the race been bought
  17. 1 Corinthians 15 Hope in action
  18. We will all be changed
  19. Secret or public return of Jesus
  20. For ever changed by spiritual experience

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Related

  1. What criteria do historians use to get to the minimal facts about the historical Jesus?
  2. N.T. Wright lectures on the seven mutations caused by resurrection of Jesus
  3. Bible study: Was the resurrection body of Jesus spiritual or physical?
  4. “It’s done . . . complete.” ~Jesus
  5. Resurrection
  6. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
  7. Why the Hypothesis that God Raised Jesus from the Dead is the Best Explanation (link)
  8. Is Jesus’ Resurrection the Best Explanation of the Evidence?
  9. Can History Demonstrate the Truth of the Resurrection? (link)
  10. The Doctrine Without Which Holy Week Is Not Good News
  11. Sermon: Simple Facts about the Resurrection of Jesus
  12. 8 Reasons the Resurrection Matters
  13. Gabi Barkay On the Tombs of Jerusalem
  14. The Resurrection of Jesus the Messiah — Is it foretold by Jesus Himself?
  15. Why Did Jesus Appear to Mankind for 40 Days After Resurrection?
  16. The Reality of Resurrection: God and Healthy Bodies, part four
  17. The Soul and False Conversion
  18. Matthew 20:19 – Jesus – what was the point of rising again
  19. What Changed These Men?
  20. The post-resurrected Jesus
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